Sunday, 29 January 2012

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. In Linger, they fought to be together. Now, in Forever, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.

This book took me forever to finish (see what I did there?), and although it pains me to say this, I can't help but feel a bit relieved. I have faithfully followed the Wolves of Mercy Fall's series since Shiver, the first installment, was released, and when I saw that Forever was out, I immediately bought it - but not immediately read it. Shiver was a fantastic light-read that I fell absolutely in love with, but Linger, the second installment, was a huge disappointment where nothing too interesting happened. So, in a way, I suppose I put the reading of the finale off for as long as possible, until my fellow WoMF fan, Ellie, started to read it - I mean, what's a friendship without a bit of light compeition? And now that I have finished it, I feel a mix of emotions. For one thing, I really liked it - they had an urgent goal they had to reach, and the anticipation in this book was immense, especially towards the end half of the novel. I've always loved Grace and Sam's relationship, because it is fluffy and cute, but not over-the-top, and this book just further emphasized it, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I also adore the characters of Isabel and Cole, and I love reading their chapters, because their wit and humor is amazing! However, I was a bit disappointed with certain things - one of them being the fact that the first half of the book is incredibly boring, where nothing much happens. Another is that most of the book seemed to just go over what we had already accepted in the previous two novels - it just felt like words were being used just to make the book thicker, when it would be fantastic stripped back. But out of all this, the most annoying thing was the ending - it was a cliffhanger! At the end of a book, you want a lasting result - you don't want even more speculation when it isn't going to be continued! It really frustrated me, but in a way, I suppose there was no other ending - there's only so much action a book can fit.

Altogether, I'd say that I'd recommend the Wolves of Mercy Falls series to anyone who likes light, easy reads - but not to anyone who likes a book they can really get their teeth into. And despite my critisism, I am going to miss this series, especially because I have stuck with it for so long. In a way, it feels like the end of an era. Stiefvater is a talented author, and I hope that in the future I will continue on to read more of her books.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Follow Friday (#4)

Feature & Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read where you meet and follow different bloggers.

Question of the Week: What book genre do you avoid at all costs?

Oh gosh, I don't really avoid a specific genre...I used to hate books that were set in the past, but now I love them..I suppose I avoid overly sci-fi books and any book where the characters are strongly religiously opionated, because I find it boring and irritating.

Also, at the moment I seem to be avoiding vampire books. Ever since Twilight, I've found that a lot of vampire novels are basically copies of it, and have very dull and repetitive storylines.

So what book genre's do you avoid?

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.
But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside. 

So I have wanted to read and review this book for a while, because loads of people have come to me and told me how good it is. And I have to say I agree with them, up to a certain extent. This novel has everything a great book needs - suspense, mystery, romance, and despite it being set in the future, it is incredibly realistic. It has everything a debut novel needs, and I think Ryan is an incredibly talented author to be able to think up such a great storyline. When I first started reading it, I believed it would be quite a lighthearted tale about discovering and inhabiting a New Earth - but it was so much more than that, and within the first 50 pages I was hooked, as well as slightly shocked about the topics this book discussed, because from reading the blurb, it isn't hinted at all. But it works, and I think that the whole idea of the human race dying out and a selection of humans being chosen to fly across the stars to a new planet is really interesting, and I loved Ryan's take on it. I think what made it quite realistic was the fact that it didn't sugarcoat anything - the events which happened were portrayed in such a harsh but true light that you could believe that this is how the future will be. I also liked how she made a lot of the characters have several faults - again, making it more believable, because it showed that the characters were still human and made human mistakes. However, there were a few things in this book that I didn't like. One was the awkward love triangle between Kieran, Waverly and Seth. I don't think Ryan managed to grasp the idea of this love, and for me, it didn't come across that Kieran or Waverly loved each other at all, which kind of defeats a big object of the book. I also wasn't too keen on the services, and found it slightly patronising that Kieran believed he was some kind of prophet - and also the fact that everyone seemed to suddenly become religious, when supposedly the majority of the ship were Athiests. But then again, it times of helplessness and desperation, I suppose anyones mind could change?

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel, and despite a few faults (in my eyes, anyway), I can tell that the Sky Chaser series is going to be a massive success, and I eagerly await the next installment.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Follow Friday (#3)

Feature & Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read where you meet and follow different bloggers.

Question of the Week: What's the craziest thing you've ever done to get your hands on a particular book?

Hmm, that's a tough one! I don't think I have, really...I mean, I pre-order a lot of stuff...not that anyone really goes "Oh wow, know what is super crazy? That girl, Nina, who pre-ordered this book online! What was she thinking?" I mean, I'm only fifteen, so I haven't really been able to go to any Harry Potter midnight selling events, unfortunately.

I know that the other day when I bought Torn by Cat Clarke the lady at the counter said "You do know I only put that on the shelf about two minutes ago?" - but I wasn't to know that. I know I preordered The Fault In Our Stars and Beautiful Chaos and Destined literally months before it even came out...but again with the whole preordering thing...isn't that crazy...

In terms of things associated to books, last year my teacher gave me an award saying "The Most Likely To Own A Bookstore/Become A Librarian"...gosh, I'm not really that crazy, am I?

Anyway; leave me a comment, prove that you're crazier than me (not that that is a particularly difficult task.)

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon

At Gottfried Academy, just one kiss will take your breath away. After Renee discovers her parents dead in what appears to be a strange double murder, she is sent to Gottfried Academy, a remote and mysterious high school dedicated to philosophy, 'crude sciences', and Latin: the Language of the Dead. Here she meets Dante, a dark and elusive student who harbors a deadly secret, but to whom she feels inexplicably drawn. Despite himself, Dante cannot control his attraction to Renee either and their desires gradually deepen into a complex and dangerous romance. But Dante's not the only one with secrets...Gottfried Academy has a few of its own. When Renee begins to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a former student, she begins to realize just how deadly these secrets are...Dark romance meets haunting murder mystery in this captivating tale of love, death and destiny.

 I really enjoyed this book! At first, I thought it would be a bit cliched, much like Twilight - but, actually, it wasn't, and I was hooked on it right until the end. For a debut novel, it is incredibly captivating, and I loved how she characterized the characters of Renee, Dante, Brandon and Eleanor. Although I found a lot of the book very obvious, and found it slightly irritating when I realized truths before Renee, I loved the complicated romance between her and Dante, and thought that the whole plot between them was so well planned and thought-out - at the beginning I was skeptical, and thought that it was just going to be another Bella/Edward scenario - but it was so much better than that, and you genuinely believed that the two characters were two genuine people who were genuinely in love. Woon wrote it in such a way that the reader is constantly hooked all the way through the book - they are hooked on the mysteries at the beginning, and they are hooked on the answers at the end. I honestly loved it, and would recommend this book to anyone who loves dark fantasy books. Twilight-lovers, eat your heart out! And Twilight-haters? Eat your heart out, too!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

In My Mailbox (#2)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where bloggers show what books they have bought, been gifted or borrowed in the last week.
I have been meaning to do this for THREE weeks now, so here we go:
From the library:
Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Wood
Blood Ties by Sophie McKenzie
From my dad:
Torn by Cat Clarke
The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
From my mum:
The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
Bought myself:
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Hate List byJennifer Brown
Steampunk! edited by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant
From HarperCollins Publishers (thank you!):
Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
Tempest by Julia Cross

Yeah - I have done pretty well, to say the least! What's in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Paper Towns by John Green

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life--dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge--he follows.
After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues--and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.

This was the first book that I ever read by Green, and I still adore it. Unlike other of his characters, the main character Q is actually pretty normal - I mean, his has friends, he had a girlfriend, he's pretty cute, and he isn't a complete social outcast - but you can still really connect with him, which I think is key with any good book; you have to be able to relate to the main character. I have to say, I don't dislike any of the characters in this book - I think there isn't a specific person you can hate on. Well...apart from Jase - but no one really cares about him. The whole of Q's hang are so hilarious, that despite the possibly depressing storyline, you can't help but snort with laughter at least once every chapter. Especially with Ben - merlin, he is so funny! Green's own humor and wit is poured into each and every character, and I really think that he is what makes each of these books unique and amazing. His characterization is brilliant, and he tells you just enough information about each character - not enough for you to get bored, but not little enough for you to get irritated. I also loved the ending - it wasn't your perfect tale, but then again, life isn't perfect, and I just think that that was the best ending this book could wish for, and it leaves readers satisfied and possibly in tears. I would definitely recommend this book - and all of Green's other novels - to anyone who is a fan of Lauren Oliver, David Levithan, Jenny Downham and more.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Follow Friday (#2)

Feature & Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read where you meet and follow different bloggers.

Question of the Week: Tell us a few of your favourite bands/singers that we should listen to in 2012.

I totally love this question! Music has been a major part of my life for a long time now, and I can pretty much write a 50+ list of all the bands I adore. My genre is a mix between rock, metal, Youtube, and alternative. Here are my top 10:

  1. A Day To Remember - I have so much love for this band, I cannot pick any one song that I love. My top favourites are: The Downfall of Us All, Have Faith In Me, You Had Me At Hello, This Is The House That Doubt Built, If It Means A Lot To You.
  2. You Me At Six - I have loved this band for years, with my favourite songs being Save It For The Bedroom, Little Death, Bite My Tongue and Contagious Chemistry.
  3. Asking Alexandria - their lyrics are so powerful. Check out Not Your American Average and A Lesson Never Learnt.
  4. Bring Me The Horizon - some of their songs can bring me to tears: Don't Go is a must-listen.
  5. Nirvana - who doesn't love them? Old school, but still great - must listen to Smells Like Teen Spirit and Come As You Are.
  6. Starkid - I am becoming increasingly obsessed with this Michigan-based drama group; check out Not Alone and Gotta Get Back To Hogwarts.
  7. The Pretty Reckless - Make Me Wanna Die, and You make me cry. A lot.
  8. Deaf Havana - This is a band that you can listen to in any mood; Friends Like These is a great song.
  9. Ed Sheeran - I reckon that no matter what genre you are most attracted to, you'll still love Ed Sheeran! Lego House is amazing (and not just because the video stars Rupert Grint!)
  10. All Time Low - this band was my favourite band for years, until they became more pop than rock. It has to be in my Top Ten though, because they created my favourite song of all time; Remembering Sunday.
So there's my top ten; what about yours?

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

I haven't read this book in a while, and now I completely remember the reason why I'm in love with it. After you finish reading, an undescribable calm descends upon you. It is a life-changing book, and every time you read it, that sense of life-change overtakes you once more. As I'm sure I've mentioned a billion times, there aren't enough books around that concentrate on homosexuality - and this is exactly what this book does. And no, it isn't focused on homophobia - it is about embracing the fabulous gay, and accepting yourself for who you are. Another thing I really love about this book is the idea of meeting someone with the same name as you (hence the title Will Grayson, Will Grayson). Both Green and Levithan have a Will Grayson each, and I have to say that despite having the same names, their characters could not be more seperate. Green's WG is a quiet, slightly wimpish, straight character, who is in some ways your typical boy - especially when it comes to girls. As I've said before, all of Green's characters are incredibly realistic, and you can relate to all of them, no matter whether they are male or female. Will's feelings are so strong, and I nearly burst into tears myself a couple of times at his realization. I also loved the character of Tiny! Although it is hard to imagine a mental image of him, you can't help but admire him, fictional or not. As for Levithan's Will...well, I have to say that I related to him a lot more than the other Will, but that's just me personally. I can be a bit pessimistic in life, and I could understand a lot of Will's views and opinions. As the story unfolded, I couldn't help but cringe at some of the things that went on, mainly because you can so strongly feel his regret and indecision. I also felt a great understanding with the character of Maura - although she was a strong witch with a capital B, in a strange way, I could understand why she did what she did. It was wrong, of course, and horrible of her - but it was partly Will's fault too, for not treating it like a proper friendship. But then again, people deserve their own privacy, and she way overstepped the line. I guess one of the things that makes this book unique is how accurate the friendships are. It shows both how strong and how breakable friendships can be, and it doesn't sugarcoat anything - including the ending. I have to say, the ending is the only thing I can pick at - but I can't pick at it as well, because there is no other possible ending. I mean, there is, of course - but those endings wouldn't have been half as good. This ending, although disappointing for my whole ship of Tiny/Will.2, is the best ending you can have - it leads plently for the imagination, but it tells us enough to know that things will turn out okay. It is a very realistic book, and I think I will forever hold it in my Top Ten books to read because of not just that, but also because the story will just leave you pouring with tears whilst singing at the very top of your voice. There isn't any book like it.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type is girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact.
On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl.

So this is the second time I have read this book, and I can safely say that I love it just as much as I did the first time. Admittedly, out of all of Green's books, this is my least favourite, but probably because I connect with the main character, Colin Singleton, less than I do with main characters in his other books - for instance, Miles in Looking For Alaska. But nevertheless, it is a great book, and I think I see it as a post break-up manual-guide - as in, How To Get Over Your Ex. It isn't a manual of any sort of course, but I do find that it is quite soothing to read, and after you finish it, you feel a sense of calm wash over you. I have to say that one of the best things of this novel is the character Lindsey. I know for a fact that she is one of Green's favourite characters, and it's easy to see why - she's witty, hilarious, charming and real; we all know a girl like her, and I think that we all can relate to her in some way or another too. The moral of this book is that you should always be true to yourself, no matter what - and that it's who you are inside that counts, not what's on the outside. It also talks about how important the art of storytelling is - being able to tell a good story is not just entertaining, but it is a valuable asset - I mean, where would we be with aboriginal tales and fairytales? Bored out of our minds, that's where. I would recommend this book to anyone going through a tough break up, anyone who is a maths-nerd/closet-romance-novel-lover, and anyone who just enjoys a good story - because although it does take a while to get the wheels rolling, once the novel is in full swing, it is very good.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (#9)

'Waiting on Wednesday' is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

 I swear that as soon as I found out that the cover had been revealed I squeaked with joy! I've wanted to post this as my WOW for months, but because I knew the cover was soon going to be revealed, I thought I'd hold on until then. So here it is: This week, I am waiting on City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare.

Now, like all of Clare's other novels, the cover is beautiful and eye-catching. But personally, I was a bit disappointed that it was Jace and Clary - again! I wanted a Magnus cover (purely because I am a hardcore Magnus fan...even though it's not that hardcore. But yes. Magnus.) - I mean, we've had Jace, Clary, Alec, Clary and Alec, and now Jace and Clary - where's Isabelle? Where's Magnus? Where's Simon? I also have to pick a fault with the model who is portraying Clary - I swear she's supposedly short? The model doesn't look that short to me.

Anyway! Enough about the cover - time for the storyline. Although a sypnosis hasn't been posted yet, from what I gather, the Shadowhunter's are a bit confused and reeling from a betrayal of one of their own. Although this is of little information, I am still really excited for this book, because I want to know more about the plot twists that will have carried on from the previous book, City of Fallen Angels. I'm interested to find out more about Simon, Isabelle, Alec, Magnus, Camille, Maia, Jordan, "Sebastian", and of course Jace and Clary's relationship; even though I say it bugs me at times, after the cliffhanger of the previous novel, I am genuinely curious.

So - what's your WOW this week?

Monday, 2 January 2012

In My Mailbox (#1)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where bloggers show what books they have bought, been gifted or borrowed in the last week.

Okay, so this is my first IMM post! This week, considering it is the week after Christmas, I decided to do a bit of light bookshopping with my £50 voucher for Waterstones (yes, I was squealing with excitement too!). So, here is my haul:

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare - okay, so I don't have a copy Clockwork Angel, but oh well: JEM IS ON THE COVER! Forever alone being forever in love with fictional characters.
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce & Sweetly by Jackson Pearce - So I just had to buy a copy of Sisters Red since I loved it so much, and I have been waiting on Sweetly, the second installment to the Fairytale Retellings series. (this time about Hansel and Gretel)
Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder -  I hadn't heard of this book before, but it reminded me a lot of Matched (by Ally Condie) and The Hunger Games (by Suzanne Collins), so I thought it'd be worth a try.
Alice In Wonderland & Through The Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll - so I went into this nerdy-comic-booky-marvel-lego-figurine shop with my little brother because he wanted some Doctor Who figures, and I was browsing the comic/book section when I found this amazing copy of Alice In Wonderland. It has the lovliest drawings in it (look at the second picture) and the writing and paper is just...yeah. Lovely. I think I already have a copy of Alice In Wonderland somewhere, but I can't find it and this copy is nicer so...

What's in your mailbox this week?

Looking For Alaska by John Green

So to celebrate the release of John Green's latest novel, The Fault In Our Stars (to be released on 10th January), I decided that I would spend the ten days following up to it re-reading all of Green's books I had. And, considering it is my favourite, I decided to start with Looking For Alaska.

Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps." Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps. 

I'd like to firstly say that Green is not just an amazing blogger and nerdfighter, but a brilliant author, too. The way he writes just engages young adult audiences effortlessly, with his easy wit and charm, which flows into his characters, making them seem more alive and real. This book is no exception. The characters of Pudge, Alaska, the Colonel, Takumi and even Lara are so brilliantly portrayed, it's like you're watching all this action unfold before you. They are exactly how teenagers are - they're not perfect, they make stupid mistakes, they argue, they swear, they drink, they get caught - and I think that is definitely what appeals to me the most; how you can relate to every character in at least some way. The story is also very realistic, which again adds to the relation. I also love the emotion in 'After' - I know I'm saying this a lot, but it is so real, you can just feel their emotions of guilt, sadness and confusion wash over you, and it genuinely affects your own emotions, just for that bit. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves YA novels full of friendship, firsts, and lasts.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Book of the Month: December

This month, I have read a variety of different novels, ranging from The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman to City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare. But this month, the book that I absolutely loved was: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare.

This book is the first in the Infernal Devices series, and I completely fell in love with not just the plot, but the characters too (Jem!). I rated this book a definite 10, because it is exactly the way a series should start: plenty of mystery, witty characters and a plotline thick with antisipation. This week, I also bought the second novel in the series, Clockwork Prince, so look out for a review coming your way soon!

Oh, and last but not least - Happy New Year!